For the past few years Impossible had been working on an all new device that would merge the easiness of modern smart phones with the epicness that is instant film. That product was crowd funded and was a total hit. The Instant Lab caught so many peoples attention and was talked about everywhere. We tested the beta version and were totally hooked! We recently got our hands on the official release and man are we still loving it. We are not blind to the criticism the instant lab receives, as many people think its cheating. We disagree. It is not only a great device for our modern times, full of images created on our phones, but it also opens a whole new avenue of creativity.
For the people who say that the Instant Lab is somehow cheating the game, where are the rules? We only see fun and enjoyment and her is why.
Instant Lab Specifications
The Lab works with iPhones 4/4s 5/5s and iPod Touch 4 and 5. We also know that a version for Andriod will be soon available. The coolest thing is that we are finally able to use films without a battery pack which is great because it reduces cost. Also having full control of your image is totally rad because you can insure a good image. The battery that is built in can hold a charge that can print 100 images no problem! The device is charged with the charging block of an iPhone and even a computer. There is a lens inside that is used to focus the on the iPhone screen. The lab will let you use any Impossible film or Expired Polaroid film you have. The Instant Lab has preset times for current films. The Impossible app also recently got a new feature. After you select your film type you can tap on the image to tell it to expose for a certain thing. Like someones face of the highlights in a scene. Really love that feature. That is basically it! Super simple clean design.
Getting the best results.
It will most definitely take one image or two to get the best results. We have a few tips! First make sure your iPhone’s screen is clean! To get the best results you have to consider how the film reacts to color. The biggest thing to look out for is saturation and color temperature. Impossible film is a relatively warm film and can desaturate images just a bit and highlights are very sensitive. So to combat this and get an image that is not to warm I load the image into my favorite photo editing app,VSCOcam. The Impossible app has a few sliders of things you can do but don’t offer the control I would like. I tune the image a shade cooler -1, saturate the image by +5 and either reduce the overall exposure by -1 or the highlights +3 and bring the shadows up by +1. Of course, a few photo editing apps can do this, whatever you are most familiar will work and you can customize the look. Below is a before and after edit, a walk through of the Impossible App and the final image! The Instant Lab also has a built in extended frog tongue so your images will be free of light leaks!
Instant Lab Uses
We all know how much fun Instant Cameras are at parties, regular life fun and any social gathering! We are all the hit at any party. The instant lab is always a hit when I go meet friends for coffee. Being able to make iPhone photos into tangible images still blows people away, just like our instant cameras do. I personally love the idea of editing my iPhone photos using type to show the location, making them look like postcards. Actually you can use them just like them. Sharpie the back with an address and you have the coolest postcard ever. Much cooler then those cheesy ones that you buy at tourist shops.
Artistic possibilities are just endless. Many who make transparencies and layer them to tell stories in images will tell you that the instant lab makes it so much easier. Making transparencies becomes more simple the more controlled the environment is in which you make them. Some our favorite users make amazing collages (show below). Not to mention double exposures! Most 600 and SX70 cameras do not let you make double exposures but the instant lab most definitely does!
Double Exposure by Celina Wyss
Okay, So We Know You Like It But What About Other People?
“So, having not seen the beta version of the lab, my first thoughts out of the box were good. I thought the unit seemed well made and durable. I noticed the tripod socket and got excited, knowing that that could only be there because this is the foundation of a possible IP camera.Having played with the app some, I was used to the controls and found it very easy to navigate. I will say, that my biggest complaint is the size of the box used to select the exposure.Speaking of exposure, my first shots were blown out. it took a few times to understand how it was exposing the scene, but after that, no issues.The instant lab was fun. I have asked people what it’s purpose is. Well, just when I received it, Charlotte had gotten some cold weather. IP film does not like the cold, but I wanted a print of my kid in the snow to remember the day. Fix, shoot the shot on my iPhone and come inside and print while having coffee.I have not tried double exposures yet, but I’m anxious to. I see the Instant lab as a tool. I think people that do transparencies and emulsion lifts will love the lab. I think it will allow them to plan their final piece of art in a way they could not before. Two thumbs up from this guy!” Chris Kale“I’ve been using the instant lab since it was released, and I have to admit when they did the Kickstarter I was skeptical. It just seemed like a weird idea. Why wouldn’t I want to use an SX-70 or my SLR680? Well I will be the first to admit I am an idiot. The Instant Lab is amazing. First, I do love photographing with my phone. I get to turn my techie brain off and enjoy photography for what it is. Second, honestly the images I’ve printed with the instant lab are better than any vscocam filter I could apply, and now I can hold them in my hand. More than a few people I know got Instant Lab pictures in frames this last Christmas, and all of them were impressed. Then, when I started playing around with multiple exposures the possibilities of the thing really opened up. You can take any kind of file, of anything, and overlay it on an image, or print it as a document, anything you can imagine in the two dimensional realm of those little square images can be printed in beautiful analog form. Plus there is remarkable consistency in the controlled setting. Very little temperature variation because you’re always inside, and the images are already shielded by the built in frog tongue. I used to get a guilty feeling when shooting with my phone on trips because I knew I should be using a real camera, but the instant lab saves me. I will say it’s too expensive. People who buy this are gonna be buying a lot of film, I wish IP would transfer some of the cost of the device to future purchases of film. But I don’t have access to IP’s books so I’m sure they have to do what they have to do. They seem like the opposite of a greed driven company (*cough* Fuji”film” *cough*).” Mark Sperry
“I will admit, I was totally turned off to the idea at first. The idea of creating polaroids from digital images was blasphemy, complete heresy. It completely sapped the magic from shooting polaroids themselves and it was something I would never ever want to use. Or at least this is what I thought at first. When I finally got my hands on one, it wasn’t before long I fell in love with it. It has a bit of a learning curve, especially with color film. Skin tones were very hard for me to get down; most of people’s faces were blown out. However once you get a bit of a system down, this thing works wonders. Now I love photography with my iPhone. As an avid film shooter, the iPhone is my digital camera of choice, heh heh. Taking some of my favorite iPhone shots and turning them into something tangible, something you can hold is pretty amazing. Where this thing really shines is being able to produce Polaroids to give to others. Taking a beloved digital photo of a couple or of a loved one and being able to print it and give it to their family and seeing their face light up is just beyond comparison; something that they can keep forever. I’ve been sending all kinds of photos to friends and family since I received the instant lab and they absolutely love them. Even if you dont use your iPhone camera much, you can send photos to your iPhone (I usually use dropbox) that you can then turn into Polaroids as well. Also, as mentioned before, it’s a good device to practice emulsion lifts, transparencies, and even double exposures. I will agree that the price is steep, especially when including all the film you will be using for it, but I can assure you it will be worth the while. I love the instant lab and use it on a regular basis now. Highly recommended.” – Justin Molina